Since 2018, Lauren Little has been showcasing Grimsby in local, national, and international campaigns, highlighting how the thriving world of offshore wind is transforming our town. In her role with Orsted, Lauren has welcomed delegates from across the globe to Grimsby, helped to create a documentary, and has taken part in events to inspire women and girls into the offshore wind sector – she has also been nominated for ‘British young renewable energy professional’ in the British Renewable Energy Awards. It all began with her family’s deep-rooted love and connections to the Port of Grimsby.
Tell us a little about your family connection to Grimsby and its famous Docks.
All of my family live in and around Grimsby and the Port of Grimsby or ‘the docks’ has been the place of work for generations of my family who have worked in the seafood sector. My dad still works there today! All my life I’ve heard the fascinating stories of working life on the Port and I always wanted to make a difference or be part of it one day. My dad and I had a conversation once about how the family name wouldn’t continue on the Port once he stopped working and it’s amazing how now, I work almost side by side in a whole new industry in the same area where generations of my family have worked all their lives.
How did your career in geography and renewables begin?
I always loved geography at school and knew I wanted to go to university and be the first person in my family to get a degree. I chose geography as I didn’t know exactly what career or job I wanted in the future, but I knew I wanted to make a positive difference to my hometown and see it thrive once again. I think that’s because it’s a town that has had a tough time (like many other coastal towns) and received undue bad press, but I saw all the great parts about ‘Great Grimsby’ – its resilience, its journey, its people, its national significance. And of course, it’s a place I’m truly fond of, it’s home to me and all my family.
By the time I was in my second year of university, I had specialised in economic geographies where I learnt about how economic changes can affect places across the UK and why some places grow and some places experience decline. I had a lecture one day about offshore wind in the North East and how as an industry it was transforming the region. I knew this was something I wanted to explore more as my little hometown was experiencing the same journey. I chose to write about it for my dissertation – I interviewed 17 businesses, education providers, organisations, local government officers and my now employer Orsted (DONG at the time) to inform my research and they all had so many fascinating stories to tell. 10,000 words later I had a study about offshore wind and its impact on Grimsby and I knew this was my passion and I wanted to return to my hometown to pursue a career in this transformative industry.
Last July I landed my dream job at Orsted – it was everything I worked for! I’m a Stakeholder Advisor for the Humber region, which means I get to positively promote the offshore wind industry across the region and engage with businesses and the community about all the fantastic opportunities the industry can bring – jobs, supply chain and more! It’s great to engage with so many people about the two things I’m so passionate about Offshore wind and Grimsby, and to tell the story and our journey particularly when we host international delegations! Every day is diverse but every day we’re having a positive impact on my hometown which so rewarding for me.
How is renewable energy having a positive impact on Grimsby?
Offshore wind as an industry not only provides clean green power but also has the power to transform and revive communities and places across the UK, and that’s exactly what’s happened in Grimsby. Once known as the world’s premier fishing port, now a global offshore wind operations and maintenance centre of excellence. The industry is truly exciting – fast paced, innovative and growing rapidly. Its offering opportunities for businesses to diversify, uplifting the towns local economy and providing high skilled careers to aspire for once again. We’re reclaiming our maritime heritage and using our geography to our advantage to put the ‘Great’ back into ‘Great Grimsby’.
This industry is here to stay, there’s a huge pipeline of projects – bigger, further from shore, better than ever and they’ll need operating for 25 years, providing thousands of jobs in the construction phase and hundreds in the maintenance phase. For a young person, this is really exciting – a long term, sustainable career that has a positive impact on the UK and Grimsby. It’s so exciting to see the support behind this industry locally and it’s something the businesses and community can be excited about. There is definitely a buzz in the town.
Orsted have already invested heavily in the town, £14m in state of the art facilities – the East Coast Hub is the UK’s, if not the world’s largest O&M hub, where three offshore wind farms are operated from, soon to be five as the world’s largest offshore wind farms become operational; Hornsea One and Two. The industry had brought a once in a generation opportunity to Grimsby and we’ve grabbed it with both hands, grown it, and now we are leading the way as places around the world are looking to us as the global model for offshore wind. That is why Grimsby is so great and I’m so passionate about my hometown.